EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is urging countries that are less dependent on Russian gas supplies to also participate in savings efforts. "Even member states that hardly purchase Russian gas cannot escape the consequences of a possible delivery stop in our internal market," she told the dpa news agency.
The economies in the EU are closely interwoven, the EU internal market is the "heart of our economy". "It is therefore important that all member states reduce demand, that everyone saves more and shares it with those members who are more affected," von der Leyen added. Energy solidarity is a "fundamental principle of the European treaties".
Criticism from Spain and Portugal
Spain and Portugal, among others, had criticized a proposal by the EU Commission for a gas emergency plan. The Portuguese government cannot accept the proposal at all because it is "unsustainable," said State Secretary for Environment and Energy João Galamba in an interview with the newspaper "Público". "We consume gas out of absolute necessity," he assured.
Spain's Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, previously said: "We can't make sacrifices we haven't been asked about." She emphasized: "Unlike other countries, we Spaniards have not lived beyond our means when it comes to energy consumption."
Specifically, the EU Commission's plan provides that all EU states voluntarily make all necessary efforts to reduce their gas consumption by at least 15 percent between August 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023. The comparative value would be the average consumption in the same period of the past five years. In the event of a real gas emergency, it should also be possible to order a reduction in consumption.
EU assumes complete gas supply stop
According to the EU Commission, inadequate preparation for a Russian delivery freeze could result in a slump in economic output by an average of 0.9 to 1.5 percent.
"In the meantime, Russia is only partially supplying gas or not at all in twelve member states," said von der Leyen of the dpa. The Kremlin is not a reliable partner for Europe's energy supply. "Therefore, Europe must be prepared for the worst case: a complete stop of gas supplies, sooner or later." The faster you act, the more you save – and the safer you are.
German storage facilities back on "proper storage path"
The head of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, was satisfied in the morning with the current filling rate of the gas storage facilities in Germany. These are "finally back on a proper storage path," wrote Müller on Twitter.
The Commission's proposals are the subject of a special meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels this Tuesday. Von der Leyen expressed confidence that they would find broad approval. "We want to create a safety net for everyone so that we can make it safely through the next two winters, all 27 member states together."